The political stalemate continues in the latest Essential Report poll: the two parties remain stuck in their post-election position of polling lock-up, with Labor and the Coalition on 50:50 on a 2PP basis. We’re now into a third month of deadlock in the levels of support for the major parties. Levels of primary support for the parties were virtually unchanged – Labor up a point to 41%, the Coalition steady on 44%, the Greens down 1 to 8%.
Essential also asked about the three issues dominating politics in recent weeks: Afghanistan, asylum seekers and the Murray-Darling.
Support for our role in Afghanistan remains at about the same levels as a fortnight ago, with just under half of voters (47%) favouring withdrawal, down two points in a fortnight and well down on the 61% favouring withdrawal in June. 10% of voters support a larger role for Australia, but the same consistency across party lines that has been a persistent feature of voter views of the conflict remains – 10%, 12% and 10% of Labor, Liberal and Greens voters favour a greater role, and 49%, 45% and 55% favour withdrawal. Interestingly, the Coalition’s traditional strength on national security issues doesn’t translate into support on this specific conflict – Labor leads by a point on the question of who is most trusted to handle the war, 33-32%, with 7% opting for the Greens.
On the MDB, there is strong cross-party support for reducing water allocations in the Basin, with 49% supporting reduced allocations and only 20% disagreeing with less water for irrigation – but there was a high don’t know response, 31%. Greens are more likely to support reduced allocations, but even 47% of Liberal back them as well. Nearly half of voters supported action on the MDB “even if it means some job losses or other economic impact”, while 31% said “protecting the economic well being of local communities and jobs” should be first priority. Liberal voters were evenly divided, while Labor and especially Greens voters were strongly in support of the first option.
On asylum seekers. there was no joy for Labor even from its own supporters. Only 33% approve of the Government’s decision to let children and families live in the community, compared to 53% who disapprove. The move drew very high rates of strong disapproval – 23% of Labor voters, 38% of Liberal voters and even 16% of Greens voters, although 63% of Greens voters approved of the decision, compared to only 24% of Liberals and 42% of Labor voters – compared to 43% of Labor voters who disapproved.